Higgins was a Fluxus-affiliated artist, critic, composer, and editor who collaborated with the Rutgers and Douglass College art faculty on several occasions. He realized The Thousand Symphonies for Professor John Goodyear's 1968 exhibition Gun Show, held at Douglass's Art Gallery. At Higgins's request, Captain Toby of the South Brunswick police force shredded blank pieces of sheet music with a submachine gun, resulting in a score whose bullet holes serve as unconventional notations and whose angles and severity dictate timbre, melody, and tempo. The Thousand Symphonies reprises a score that Higgins produced in March 1962, the twelfth in his Danger Music series. According to the artist, they were inspired by the surge of civil unrest and violence in the 1960s.